December 20, 2018
By Brian W. Carter
“She wasn’t a celebrity, she was a partner. She had a profound commitment. She is a heroine. I am proud to call her my friend...” stated L.A. Sentinel & L.A. Watts Times publisher and Bakewell Media CEO, Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. about the incomparable, Nancy Wilson.
A golden smile and golden pipes with beautiful hair and musical accolades many artists aspire towards, Wilson was truly one-of-a-kind. Wilson who was also known as a “song stylist” with versatile vocals, was a platinum artist and top concert performer.
The singer was born in Chillicothe, Ohio to Olden Wilson, an iron foundry worker and Lillian Ryan, a maid. Wilson, who is the eldest of six children, started singing in church; however it wasn’t until the tender age of four that she decided to pursue singing.
In high school, she won a talent contest, sponsored by a local TV station and received her own program. She briefly attended Central State College before she went on tour with the Rusty Bryant’s Carolyn Club Big Band throughout Canada and the Midwest in the late 1950s. While touring with the group, Wilson made her first recording under Dot Records. Along the way, she met many jazz artists including Cannonball Adderley, who encouraged her to move to New York.
Wilson began performing at The Blue Morocco, and connected with Adderley’s manager, John Levy, who set up a demo session. It was then sent to Capitol Records and according to Wilson, in five days they responded. Her first album, “Like in Love!” debuted in 1959. From there she would go on to cover the Beatles song, “And I Love Her,” which became “And I Love Him,” Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and Aretha Franklin’s “Son of a Preacher Man.”
Some of Wilson influences includes artists, Dinah Washington and Nat “King” Cole. She has covered many classics with her personal touch which allowed her to take songs to another level! She released eight albums that reached the top 20 on Billboard’s pop charts in 1960s. She was best known for songs such as “Guess Who I Saw Today” and the 1964 hit, “(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am.” In the 1970s, she continued to record regularly and perform worldwide. She officially stopped touring in September 2011 after her final public performance at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
Some of her other celebrated works includes the “Broadway — My Way,” “Lush Life,” and “The Nancy Wilson Show!” which was a best-selling concert recording. She won a Grammy in 1965 for best R&B performance for “How Glad I Am” and later won Grammys for best jazz vocal album in 2005 for the intimate “R.S.V.P (Rare Songs, Very Personal)” and in 2007 for “Turned to Blue.” Also, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded her a “Jazz Masters Fellowship” in 2004 for lifetime achievement.
Wilson has crossed all genres including gospel, blues, jazz, pop style ballads, show tunes and much more. She has also worked with some of the greats in music history including Nat King Cole, Billy Eckstine, Count Basie, and Adderly just to name a few.
Wilson has also showcased her talents on television, film and radio, including popular shows such as “Hawaii Five-O,” “Police Story,” Robert Townshend’s “Meteor Man,” “The Cosby Show” and hosted NPR’s “Jazz Profiles” series.
In 2010, she was honored by the Brotherhood Crusade with the Bremond/Bakewell Pioneer of African American Achievement Award. Wilson had been a longtime supporter of the Brotherhood Crusade lending her talents and presence at a time when getting performers of her status was difficult. In the early ‘70s, she served as a fund-raising and special events chair. As a result of her work with the Brotherhood, it encouraged others to follow in her lead.
On her involvement with the Brotherhood Crusade, Wilson stated, “I’ve been involved in fundraising with the Brotherhood Crusade for so many years, it was wonderful when I got a call saying that I was going to be honored—it is nice to be recognized.”
Bakewell, Sr., former Brotherhood chairman of the board and president of the organization from 1971-2005 stated, “Nancy’s contributions really helped to propel the Brotherhood Crusade to new heights. She really understood the concept of self-help.”
“This isn’t someone who just lent her name to a project, she showed up. She was very concerned about the plight of Black people in the world and she offered inspiration and hope to many.”
Wilson was a longtime activist within the Civil Rights Movement having marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with other entertainers such as Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee. Her philanthropy also includes supporting health, education and financial literacy. She was also an advocate of women’s health issues and prenatal care during the 1960s. She served on the minority business advisory council during the Nixon administration and was appointed to the education advisory board under President Johnson. Wilson was also active in the AIDS crisis during the ‘80s. Wilson was actively engaged in helping with Hurricane Katrina and Haitian earthquake reliefs.
Also, in 2010, former Assemblyman Mike Davis honored Wilson along with Stevie Wonder as 2010 Living Legends at the California African American Museum. They were serenaded by their peers in the entertainment industry and the community which included Freda Payne, Eloise Laws, James Ingram and Chante Moore.
In 2012, she was presented with an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Juilliard School of Music, which was her third doctorate degree. She is also the recipient of three NAACP Awards, the UNCF Trumpet Award and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
According to Wilson’s manager and publicist, Devra Hall Levy, the singer passed away late Thursday night after battling an illness at her home in Pioneertown, California. She was 81.
December 20, 2018
By Britni Danielle
Netflix is adding yet another groundbreaking series to its lineup next year when it welcomes Queen Sono to the platform.
The South African-based production will be the first original African series the streaming giant has ever commissioned. The announcement comes just a week after Erik Barmack, Netflix’s VP of international originals, said the network would be partnering with more creators on the continent in 2019.
According to Pearl Thusi, a veteran actor and one of the stars of the show, Queen Sono is “a thrilling story about a kicka-s female spy.”
In a video, Thusi also said she “cannot wait for…every woman on this continent, and actually on this planet, to meet Queen Sono.”
Barmack compared Thusi’s character, Queen Sono, to the powerful female leads already on the network.
“Taking talent like this and telling stories to the rest of the world puts Pearl in the same category as other strong female characters like Claire Underwood in House of Cards and Jessica Jones,” he said. “Over time our roots will get deeper in Africa and South Africa, and we’re moving pretty quickly to that now, and plan to invest more in local content.”
Queen Sono was created by Kagiso Lediga, who starred with Thusi in the Netflix original film, Catching Feelings, which was also the first for the platform. Lediga hopes the new series will allow other African stories to find their way to viewers around the world.
“We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world,” he said.
Funa Maduka, Netflix’s director of international original films, called the company’s recent foray into original African content “only the beginning.”
“Africa is birthplace to one of the oldest storytelling traditions in the world. It also has a rich cinematic history,” Maduka told Variety back in November.
“The talent is here and we want to present ourselves as an option as they choose the best path to connect their stories with audiences,” she added.
December 20, 2018
MAR 21 - APR 19
You're in a very happy place this week. Your ruler, Mars, will be at a perfect angle to Pluto, allowing you to use your power in the most unobtrusive way to help you get whatever -- or whomever -- you want most. Adding to the mix is the fact that the Sun and Uranus, which is in your sign, will trine on Thursday, helping you express your most individual, unique self in a way that is downright sexy to others. It'll be impossible for anyone to resist you since you've got that perfect "sugar, spice, and everything nice" combination working for you now. Yes!
APR 20 - MAY 20
Speaking from the heart will be easy for you this week, perhaps too easy. You won't be able to hold back your emotions, even if you wanted to. A Full Moon in Cancer will land in your communication sector on Saturday. This lunation will help you talk to your partner from a true place of softness and warmth. However, you might feel more hypersensitive than usual if you receive any communication in return that you hadn't anticipated. Keep it all in perspective and remember that whatever is spoken truly does come from a place of love.
MAY 21 - JUN 20
Your partner will definitely help to pull you out of your comfort zone. Although you're not the type who usually shies away from new experiences, your partner will prove to be the more adventurous one this week. He or she will reveal a layer of spontaneity that you find thoroughly intriguing and sexy. You can look forward to a new escapade with your mate that is unlike anything you've ever had before. Savor it!
JUN 21 - JUL 22
You're feeling ALL the feels this week, Cancer. A Full Moon in your sign on Saturday demands expression, but you might not feel as if you can control anything you're feeling. It'll be difficult to direct your emotions, and you might even have trouble identifying why you're feeling a certain type of way. Everything is so instinctual and intuitive but not exactly explainable. You just "know" but won't be able to rationalize how. Fortunately, in matters of the heart, leading with your feelings will serve you well. After all, there's nothing logical about love.
JUL 23 - AUG 22
Your partner might give you quite a shock -- in a good way -- this week! The Sun is moving through the area of your chart connected to pleasure and romance. On Thursday he'll be at a perfect angle to Uranus, the planet of never-ending surprises, which also happens to rule your partnership sector. Your sweetheart might surprise you by telling you they want a stronger commitment. If this happens, you'll be very open to it. Alternately, your significant other might take you on an unexpected adventure. Be ready for anything.
AUG 23 - SEP 22
You're definitely seeing the best in your partner and in your relationship these days, and you want to communicate your idealism to your love. You might say things to each other that are downright poetic and inspirational this week. This conversation could be so sentimental and beautiful you'll have to wonder if you've stepped into a fairytale. Telling your sweetheart how much you adore them is great, but what's even better is that you'll have no problem showing it this week.
SEP 23 - OCT 22
Your partner might unexpectedly make one of your dreams come true this week. There's a spark of enthusiasm that will absolutely make you smile. Know that he or she is your greatest cheerleader in life. However, what really sets your partner apart from the rest is that he or she is personally invested in your success. Your lover will clearly go to great lengths in order to make sure you manifest whatever it is you want most in life. You are so blessed! Single? It looks like you're having so much fun with your friends this week that you won't care one bit about your relationship status. Funnily enough, that's when you're most likely to meet someone worth getting to know.
OCT 23 - NOV 21
You and your sweetheart are only interested in seeing the best in each other this week. The rose-colored glasses are on and you're both flying high on cloud nine with your romantic sentiments for one another. Venus, the planet of love, will continue to move through your sign and she'll be at a perfect angle to mystical Neptune, now in your true love sector, on Friday. These two planets together represent soulmate love expressed in its purest form. Enjoy the bliss!
NOV 22 - DEC 21
It's one thing to enjoy an intense sexual connection with someone in your moments of passion. It's another thing to be able to talk about these moments with your partner and convey how much the physical aspect of your relationship is amplifying and nurturing the emotional side of your bond. You're doing all of that and more this week. The power of love is clear, and your sweetheart literally feels like "home" to you in just about every way. Enjoy the nuggets of surprise dialogue. It's all good!
DEC 22 - JAN 19
A Full Moon in your partnership sector promises an emotional week in matters of the heart. Your partner won't be able to contain his or her emotions and might even come across as slightly dysregulated near the time of this lunation. If that happens, it's only because they are so emotionally invested in your partnership that they want to make sure you continue to thrive together as a couple no matter what situation happens to erupt. The bottom line is that your sweetheart is afraid of losing you because they feel as if you're their security. You are their everything.
JAN 20 - FEB 18
You might be consumed in conversation with someone you've got a crush on or are dating. There might be so much for you to discuss that you find yourself on the phone for hours at a time. If you're in the stage of getting to know someone new in your life, it will be an extremely pleasurable process. You'll genuinely enjoy all the banter and dialogue exchanged over the week. If you're single, then you might spend a lot of time this week talking to your friends about romantic prospects. They might even help you select a date from an app or internet site you're a member of.
FEB 19 - MAR 20
A Full Moon in your true love sector this Saturday will leave your heart brimming with sentiment. If you're in a relationship, it's possible you'll find out that you and your partner are expecting a baby. If you're dating someone seriously, then you may decide to move in together or introduce one another to your respective families. One way or another, it appears you're taking things to a deeper emotional level. Congratulations!
December 20, 2018
By Lauren Victoria Burke
In the wake of the August 16th death of the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), along with Representatives Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) and Doug Collins (R-GA) have introduced legislation to posthumously award Franklin the Congressional Gold Medal.
The legendary artist died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.
“Aretha was simply a legend. Her work and impact will be felt for generations to come, and it’s long past time Congress honor her with the Congressional Gold Medal,” said Senator Harris in an August 21 release.
The legislation will be called, “The Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act” and, should it become law, it will honor Franklin’s role in “shaping the nation’s culturally and socially relevant discography and highlight how she was an example to all people in how one person’s talents can make a difference in the lives of millions of people across the globe.”
Many of the tributes to Franklin since her passing have emphasized not only her musical talent but her role in shaping and empowering the role of women with songs that gave voice to life experiences from a decidedly female perspective.
Aretha Franklin’s involvement in civil rights is also noted in the legislation. Her music often served as a call to action that inspired thousands to join civil rights movements and still maintains a social context that resonates across events even in present day.
“I am proud to join Senator Harris in introducing a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to honor an American music legend, Aretha Franklin, for her contributions to American music culture,” said Rep. Lawrence.
“Aretha Franklin was soul personified and she gave us the gift of her voice, her truth and her unapologetic passion to demand compassion, love and R-E-S-P-E-C-T for women everywhere. An iconic entertainer, powerful civil rights leader, history maker and a beautiful spirit I was privileged to call friend; we honor this Detroit native, the true Queen of Soul. She will be dearly missed, never forgotten and always treasured,” Lawrence added.
“Aretha Franklin’s legacy, like her voice, will sing through the generations,” said Senator Hatch. “Through her talent, she touched the hearts of millions, lifting all of us with songs of hope and humanity. Aretha brought light, laughter, and love to all who would hear. I’m grateful to play a small role in honoring the life of this remarkable artist.”
The legislation is expected to pass and be signed into law.